MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, October 8th. This is WORLD Radio. Thank you for listening and good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: a special edition of the Olasky Interview.
In the latest issue of WORLD Magazine, editor in chief Marvin Olasky interviewed Christian journalist and lawyer David French, as well as Christian theologian and author Wayne Grudem. They have very different perspectives on Donald Trump and the 2020 election.
REICHARD: Last Friday, Olasky explained his reasoning for talking to both men:
OLASKY: When there is not a clear biblical position, which is often the case at election time, we will help to sharpen you by presenting contrasting views. If we don’t sharpen you, we’re doing you a disservice.
So today, we’re going to hear excerpts from both conversations to practice Proverbs 27:17—iron sharpening iron. We begin with French, who says regardless of Trump’s policies, he can’t support the president because of the president’s character.
DAVID FRENCH: A president of good character is going to be a president who doesn’t try to intentionally divide the United States of America. The secretary of Defense, James Mattis said that Trump was a person who by pattern and practice intentionally tried to divide the United States of America.
And the other thing that I would say in response to this division of character versus policies is if you’re somebody who’s outside the Christian community, that’s news to you, because the Christian community spent decades, decades saying that character mattered fundamentally, and was right. It was right for those decades. And in fact, the separation of character from policies is impossible.
OLASKY: The trump card for Trump proponents who recognize the severe character deficiencies that then lead to bad policies, the trump card is abortion. And how do you answer that saying, “well, if you are for Biden, then you are for, in essence, murdering little children.”
FRENCH: Right. Well, first what you have to say is, look, the power of the President over abortion is profoundly limited, profoundly limited. And so, given that his power over abortion rights is profoundly limited, do you subject everything else to this interest? And why do I say that? If you look at American abortion rates, for example, they peaked around 1980-81 and they have diminished every single presidency since. Through pro-life Presidents the abortion rate has gone down, through pro-choice Presidents the abortion rate has gone down. The abortion rate is determined by factors that have very little to do with the President of United States. That’s the bottom-line reality we’ve now learned through 40 plus years of activism, is that the abortion rate does not depend on the President.
MARVIN OLASKY: Let me ask then about your thinking about, say 2024, will America be in better or worse shape if Joe Biden is elected, Trump elected? What do you think would happen over the next several years?
FRENCH: I think America will be in much worse shape if Donald Trump is reelected. If he’s reelected, it’s probable that he would be reelected with yet another minority of the popular vote. And yes, I know, and I understand fully that presidents are elected through the Electoral College, not popular vote, but a constitutional republic can only withstand minoritarian governance for so long before it creates unrest. Decisive action by temporary and very narrow majorities, I think you destabilize the country.
OLASKY: So, what I hear you saying, essentially, is that you are cheering for Joe Biden.
FRENCH: Oh, I do not want Donald Trump to win reelection. What I want to see happen is that Donald Trump lose to Joe Biden and the Republican Party retain the Senate
OLASKY: So, I hear you cheering for a narrow Democratic win…
FRENCH: Oh no, no, no, I want a decisive loss for Trump. My hope is that a resounding rejection of Donald Trump doesn’t carry with it a resounding rejection of Republicans who are not like Donald Trump, and that’s what I’m pessimistic about. I feel like the resounding rejection of Trump will also lead to resounding rejection of Republicans who are not like Trump, and I think that that is an outcome that’s not best for the country.
OLASKY: So, this does throw us to prior because it seems that we are, in a natural way, hung either way or hanged either way.
FRENCH: Look, mistakes have consequences. And when GOP voters chose Donald Trump to be their standard bearer in 2016, and I also say, when Democratic voters chose Hillary Clinton to be their standard bearer in 2016, a serious, consequential error was made. And we’re living with those consequences, and there’s no easy way to escape those consequences.
But at the same time, the nomination of Donald Trump was the product of an awful lot of forces that had been building for some time, including when I talk about a great deal in the book, this concept of negative partisanship. He is a consequence of the rise of American partisan animosity. He’s sort of like a symptom of a disease that makes the disease worse, like a hacking cough can break a rib.
MARVIN OLASKY: Wayne, Christian journalist and lawyer David French says America is in better shape in 2024, if Joe Biden is elected President, and Trump is defeated.
GRUDEM: I have no idea how to justify that statement. Does he want judges who make their own laws and are accountable to no one. Or does he want judges who follow the original meaning of the Constitution of laws, as he would under Donald Trump? Does he want higher taxes under Biden or lower taxes under Trump?
Does he want more futile attempts against inequality and hindering our economic growth or more prosperity under Trump? Does he want meager economic growth under Biden are fewer and fewer jobs or strong economic growth under Trump? High unemployment under Biden as it was under Obama, or low under low unemployment under Trump?
Will he work toward further reconciliation between Israel and Arab countries as Donald Trump has done with the UAE, or will he marginalize Israel, and Benjamin Netanyahu?
Under Biden we would have no legal protection for unborn babies. But under Donald Trump we’ve had increasing protection for unborn babies. More school choice or less school choice? Does he want, increasing the attempts by government to force Christians to violate their consciences and their sincerely held religious beliefs? Under Trump strong protections for religious freedom and freedom of conscience.
And the last item I would mention under Biden we’d have extreme environmental policies leading to enormous increases in energy prices and frequent blackouts, not only in California but elsewhere. Under Trump we’ve had abundant energy and cheaper energy.
OLASKY: Well, I’m getting the impression that you disagree with French. He considers President Trump to be very divisive. How do you respond to that?
GRUDEM: There’s been a hostility towards President Trump since the day he took office, and that divisiveness comes from an increasingly hostile and violent left. But the divisiveness is coming from people who would disagree with him but people who call themselves the resistance and try to oppose everything he does. That’s contrary to Romans 13 one which says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, he who resists the authority, resists what God has appointed.”
OLASKY: Let me ask you this: what do you think will happen in November and perhaps even December. If the election results aren’t clear?
GRUDEM: It’ll be resolved by the constitutionally prescribed legal process. There’s a deadline for states to turn in their electoral vote tallies. And if that is not decisive then it goes to the House of Representatives and the delegation of each state is allowed one vote in the House of Representatives and Republicans have a slight majority in that scenario. And the House of Representatives would choose Donald Trump as president I expect.
OLASKY: Well that would be quite a scenario.
GRUDEM: I don’t think that’s what the Lord has in store for us.
OLASKY: I certainly hope and hope and pray not. What our President Trump’s most significant legislative accomplishments.
GRUDEM: Well, first of all the appointment of supreme court justices and the approval of over 200 other judges. That’s in a sense legislative because it needs approval through the Senate.
Then, the defense budget, that was around 750 billion dollars—the largest in history—strengthening our military, which was really weakened under Obama. And then there was some legislative approval, a measure of funding for building a wall on our southern border. It wasn’t as much as President Trump wanted but it was something. And the response to the COVID-19 crisis was a bipartisan legislative stimulus or recovery package in the midst of a crisis, crisis so there is some significant things that have been done.
OLASKY: Okay. One more question. What do you think about the number of refugees allowed in the US, hitting an all time low?
GRUDEM: I wish the number were higher honestly, but I think it’s part of a larger question, where the nation has to decide what is the will of the people regarding immigration policy in general. For years, we’ve admitted more refugees to the United States than all other countries in the world combined. Last year’s 18,000 was a decline from that number. And I would hope it will return to a higher number.
REICHARD: To read more of Olasky’s interviews with both French and Grudem, check out the October 10th issue of WORLD Magazine, or you can read both online. We’ll include links in today’s transcript at worldandeverything.org.